ATLANTA -- Because no living players were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame this year, Cooperstown will be quieter than usual this summer. But the historic rural town in New York will likely be buzzing during the summer of 2014 when a few legendary Braves figures are expected to gain baseball's greatest honor.
Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will highlight the list of players who will be added to the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. Those two 300-game winners could be sharing the honor with their former manager Bobby Cox and former general manager John Schuerholz, who could both gain election through the Veterans Committee.
"That would truly be something," Cox said. "I've always said, I just want to be there when Maddux, Glavine, [John] Smoltz and all of those guys get in."
Over the next few years, the Hall of Fame ceremonies could conjure up memories of those Braves teams that won 14 consecutive division titles and went to five World Series. Maddux and Glavine are positioned to be the first players from those teams to gain election. Smoltz will be eligible in 2015 and Chipper Jones in 2018.
Fittingly, the baseball gods have positioned Cox and Schuerholz, the architects of those teams, to potentially be enshrined at the same time as Maddux and Glavine.
Like Maddux and Glavine, Frank Thomas could also gain the honor of being a first-ballot inductee in 2014. And to add to the potential splendor of the occasion, legendary managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre will also be eligible for 2014 induction via the Veterans Committee.
Cox, Schuerholz, La Russa and Torre becoming first-time eligible candidates in 2014 is a product of the voting-procedure changes made in 2010. The voting process now focuses on three eras -- pre-integration (1871-1946), golden (1947-72) and expansion (1973-89 for players; 1973-present for managers, umpires and executives).
Maddux and Glavine spent 10 seasons (1993-2002) pitching together in Atlanta. They accounted for six of the eight National League Cy Young Awards presented from 1991-98. Smoltz accounted for one of the others in 1996.
Schuerholz kept the team's core together and continued to improve the roster for Cox, who guided the Braves to one World Series title, 14 consecutive division titles and 15 trips to the playoffs from 1991 until he retired at the end of the 2010 season.
Cox ranks fourth on the all-time wins list for Major League managers. He sits one spot behind La Russa and one spot ahead of Torre.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.